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When two people do not live together but have a child together, a visitation schedule can be put into place by a court so that each parent will be able to spend time with their children. In Texas, there is a standard visitation plan that the courts will put into place in the absence of an agreement between the parties. The standard visitation plan may not work for you or your children, or may for some reason be unsafe for the children. In these cases, modified or suspended visitation plans may be appropriate. Contact the attorneys at Jeredith Jones, Attorney at Law to discuss the facts specific to your case.
A Texas standard possession order generally starts at 6:00 pm on the first, third, and fifth Fridays of each month and ends on the following Sunday at 6:00 pm. A standard possession order also allows for each parent to switch Thanksgiving week, Christmas week, New Year’s Week, and Spring Break Week. The Non-Custodial Parent also is granted a month in the summer from July 1 until July 30. In addition, during the school year, the Non-Custodial parent gets to see the children each Thursday beginning at 6:00 pm and ending at 8:00 pm. If the Non-Custodial parent would like, he or she can elect to pick the children up at the school at the end of the day that their visitation starts and return the children to school in the morning on the day their visitation ends. This type of visitation arrangement is called a Standard Expanded visitation order and allows each parent to spend almost equal time with their children.
There is also an option for a parent who lives over one hundred miles away from their children that allows the non-custodial parent to decide to pick one weekend each month to see the children, 42 days in the summer, and every spring break in addition to switching between Christmas week, New Years week, and Thanksgiving week.
In addition to these provisions that tell the parties when they can see the children, a visitation order will also tell the parties where the children will be picked up and dropped off. Generally, the children will be picked up and dropped off at the home of the custodial parent or at school. These situations are sometimes unfair or unworkable and alternatives can be discussed with your attorney. Some parents agree to meet half way between their two homes or at a public location to avoid conflict at the residence of one party or the other. Many parties consider the car time for children when deciding what will be best in a particular visitation plan.
Sometimes, these standard orders are not workable for parents and it is necessary to work through difficult work schedules or competing desires to be with the children. The attorneys at Jeredith Jones, Attorney at Law have assisted a significant number of parents with these issues and have become creative regarding visitation schedules that will accommodate the specific needs of a family or an individual.
In certain situations, the court will not give a party the standard possession order. Generally, in cases where children are under the age of three (3) years of age, the party requesting a standard possession order must show the judge that the standard possession order is in the best interest of the child. When a child is under three years old, a standard possession order may not work due to the age of the child and another solution must be worked out between the parties or through a court hearing to maximize the amount of time the non-custodial parent will be able to see the child. After the child turns three, a standard possession order is presumed to be in the best interest of the child, or in other words, is the default for the court to put into place. If a standard order is not safe or in the best interest of the child regardless of the child’s age, it can be shown in court facts to support the safety issue and a modified or suspended visitation plan can be put in place.
It is an unfortunate reality that some parents have mental health problems, substance abuse problems, and other issues that affect the safety and security of a child during a visit with that parent. In these cases, the attorneys at Jeredith Jones, Attorney at Law can assist you in determining what is appropriate in your case and will work towards obtaining an appropriate order to assure the safety of the children. Supervised visitation can occur in a variety of ways and there are organizations in Montgomery County and Harris County that will supervise visitation and return a report to the court on how the visitation between the party and the child went. Supervised visitation can occur on a temporary basis or on a long term basis depending on the facts and evidence. Jeredith Jones, Attorney at Law has expertly and compassionately represented clients in these situations and utilizes her skills at investigation and evidence preparation to assist in presenting the strongest case to the judge.